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Los Alamos National Lab: National Security Science

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Lab Character

Tana Cardenas

When Tana Cardenas was eight years old, she remembers, “Someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I said, ‘I’m going to be a mechanical engineer.’” Cardenas was true to her word. She is now an R&D engineer on the Lab’s Target Engineering team, where she designs targets that physicists put in the path of lasers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and at the University of Rochester. The experimental campaigns serve Stockpile Stewardship and the efforts to achieve. Read the story!

Paul Dowden

Paul Dowden has worked as an auto and diesel mechanic and as a hot rod enthusiast, doing his own fabrication, electronics, and engine and transmission building. That same tinkering streak serves him well today as he oversees all pulsed laser deposition operations for the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Los Alamos. Innovation drives his contributions to a range of projects, from chemical lasers to the R&D 100 award-winning flexible superconducting tape. Read the story!

Rusty Gray

George (Rusty) Thompson Gray III is a tactile person. As a Los Alamos materials scientist, he uses high-powered gas guns to subject materials to dynamic forces, examining the resulting damage patterns to understand why materials fail. For more than 30 years, Gray has made essential contributions to the Laboratory’s national security science mission. He’s made a name for himself within the materials science community. Read the story!

Veronica Livescu

Veronica Livescu’s career has taken quite a turn since she earned her master’s in aerospace engineering in Romania in 1991. On her way from Bucharest to the Laboratory’s Materials Science in Radiation and Dynamics Extremes group, she changed not only countries but also disciplines, transforming herself from a mechanical engineer to a materials scientist. Read the story!

Darrin Visarraga

In 2002, Darrin Visarraga came to Los Alamos to work as a scientist/mathematician with the Infrastructure Systems and Modeling group, developing computer simulations for physical infrastructures. As an outlet from work, Darrin has been studying and teaching salsa in Los Alamos and around Northern New Mexico. “To gain confidence as a dancer, you have to let go of your inhibitions and let your movements connect organically,” notes Darrin. Read the story!

Tana's face in clear view
Tana's face in clear view
Being Scientific: Rusty Gray
Tana's face in clear view
Visarraga: Spotlight

Innovative Science

User Facilities

Our national user facilities are the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center, the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and the Center for Integrated Nanotechnology.

Science Facilities

Our science facilities are critical to maintaining the vitality and leadership of our science, technology, and engineering capabilities for national security.

Science Pillars, Capabilities

Our Science Pillars use broad science, technology, and engineering capabilities across multiple disciplines to meet diverse national security missions.